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How do I explain the difference between "taking into account" and "considering" to ESL students and can they be used interchangeably in the following sentences?

"Taking into account that my sales are the highest of anyone on our team, I feel that I should get the corner office."

"Considering how long I've worked for this company, I think I should be promoted to a managerial position."

I realize that "that" must come after "taking into account" in the first sentence, but I could also say "considering that" - correct?

Also, I'd love any other specific pointers about how to place these phrases in sentences (e.g. only before nouns etc.). Thanks!

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    Why contrast? They are closer to expressing reason. – Gustavson Jan 12 at 18:15
  • "that" is possible with "taking into account" in THIS case because there is no wh- word to introduce the object. If there were a wh- word, "that" should be eliminated. – Gustavson Jan 12 at 18:18
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    Bearing in mind / Noting that they're effectively interchangeable, I wouldn't bother trying to "explain the difference". – FumbleFingers Jan 12 at 18:24
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    @Gustavson I guess I was thinking of other phrases like "despite the fact that" and "all the same" which are often used to contrast, but it is helpful to think of these particular phrases as "expressing reason", as you said - thank you. Also, thanks for the tip about "that" as long as there is no "wh-word" - appreciate it. – Mrs. Orange Mint Jan 12 at 18:55
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    @FumbleFingers So what you're saying is that there probably are some minor differences, but not important enough to explain to learners since it would probably just confuse them - correct? Just trying to clarify. Thanks :) – Mrs. Orange Mint Jan 13 at 16:03
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@FumbleFingers is, of course, right to point out that there are always likely to be nuances that distinguish the precise meaning of apparently equivalent expressions.

To my ears the difference, in the context quoted, between 'taking into account' and 'considering' is that the latter would be used by the person asking for more money, and the former, as part of the explanation why the amount awarded, if any, was what it was. Consider "I have taken into account that you are the first to arrive and the last to leave the office, but...", but if I were the generous boss that we all wish we had you might hear "Considering that... I am pleased to promote you to ..."

The point is that the expression 'take into account' is a wonderfully vague way of pointing out that some arguably relevant information has not been neglected. It does not mean that the actual decision has in fact been influenced by that information. It is an example of the well known bureaucratic technique of CYA: if you state that something has been taken into account then you cannot be accused of ignoring it, even if its weight with you was negligible.

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